Let me out the door, please!

Over the course of a long academic career, recess was my favorite class. I would've majored in it, if I could've. From an early age, I was always more interested in matters outside the windows, than in matters inside the classroom.

In our school, recess was nearly always conducted outside. It was freedom in the fresh air with an opportunity to achieve the dirty shoes and grass-stained pants to prove it. If you didn't get dirty, you weren't really having any fun.

Recess provided a reprieve from the monotony of the classroom. It offered relief and recovery from the boring subjects, but afterward, the math and science always seemed easier to swallow.

Research now indicates that recess was actually good for my academic achievement. Studies show that the best way to improve a child's performance in the classroom, may be by removing them from it.

A recent study suggests that play time may actually be as important to academic achievement as reading, writing and arithmetic. Research indicates that regular recess, fitness or nature time can influence classroom behavior, concentration and even grades.

Published in the Journal of Pediatrics, a new study considers links between recess and classroom behavior among about 11,000 school children ages 8 and 9. Results indicate that children who had more than 15 minutes of recess a day exhibited better behavior in the classroom, than those who had little or no recess time.

Additional results indicate that students who have a regular opportunity for outdoor recreation have better concentration and exhibit greater retention of subject matter.

Lead researcher, Dr. Romina M. Barros, a pediatrician and an assistant clinical professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, explained that the findings were important because many schools do not view recess as essential to education.

Dr. Barros explained, "we should understand that kids need a break, because the brain needs that break."

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